We handed out the recipe for these Sicilian-Style Stuffed Artichokes around St. Joseph's Day, but now that local artichokes are available, we thought it worth handing out again. For a simpler preparation, tear off the tougher outer leaves, then cut off the top 1/3 or so of the artichokes. If necessary, also cut the stems so the artichokes stand up straight in a steamer basket. Steam them for about 30 minutes, or until the inner leaves pull off easily. Squeeze some lemon on them and serve with melted Smith Creamery butter for dipping.
To prepare artichokes: Holding the artichoke securely, use a sharp knife to cut off the top third of the leaves; then cut off the extra stem at the base so the artichoke will sit upright. Working up from the basal leaves, carefully snap off the toughest outer leaves (about six or eight leaves, depending on the size and coarseness of the leaves). As you move up from the stem, the leaves will be less fibrous and will not snap as readily. When you reach the point where the leaves are not snapping easily, you will have removed enough of the very toughest leaves. If your artichoke is super jumbo (fourteen inches in circumference), all of the big outer leaves will be tough, so just remove a few of the basal leaves. Using kitchen scissors, cut off the top of any of the remaining leaves to remove the sharp thistle.
Forcefully spread the outer leaves apart from the center choke as far as you can and begin the tedious and tough process of removing the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. This is a process of pulling and scraping. I found that a pointed, serrated grapefruit spoon works very well to dig out the main part of the choke. But once this main core is removed, switch to a rounded teaspoon to scrape out the remaining fuzzy part of the choke covering the heart. Be sure to remove all of the fuzzy part, but leave the heart intact. Set artichokes aside.
Place a steamer rack in a large pot and add enough water to create steam without allowing the water to touch the bottom of the artichokes. Cover pot and bring water to a simmer.
To prepare Stuffing: In a bowl, combine mushrooms, garlic, cheese, bread crumbs, mint, parsley, egg, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into the hollowed-out centers of the artichokes first, then use up the remaining stuffing by nestling one teaspoonful in between each leaf.
When all of the artichokes have been stuffed, use your hands to gently press the stuffed leaves together to bring each artichoke back to its original shape (as much as you can). Drizzle each stuffed artichoke with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Place stuffed artichokes on steamer rack, cover, and steam over simmering (not boiling) water for about 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of the artichokes. (An artichoke with a circumference of thirteen or fourteen inches will take at least 1 hour of steaming time.) Check the water in the bottom of the pot from time to time and add more water as necessary.
Recipe compliments of market shopper
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.